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“They cowardly attack US, so we nobly eliminate them…” : The emergence of the translocal group in the propaganda of the Islamic State

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The threat of the Islamic State is realised both in its attacks and its discourse. To illustrate the role of linguistic threats, the present study investigates the ISIS online propaganda magazine Dabiq by combining Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics (Romero-Trillo 2008; Baker et al. 2008). Following the two groups described by van Dijk (2003), which are represented by the in-group (ISIS) and the out-group (against ISIS), we propose a third element: the translocal group (i.e., the people in between). The results show the substantial presence of linguistic strategies enhanced by Dangerous Speech (Benesch 2013) to create a high segregation between the groups. Also, the analysis shows the inextricable relationship between conflict and dangerous language and the need to investigate this link further, with special reference to the polarisation of the groups and to the subsequent escalation of violence in discourse.

Keywords: Dabiq; Dangerous Speech; ISIS; conflict; propaganda; translocal group

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 13, 2020

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